We’ve written before on the Stanton’s blog about our knowledgeable staff. Now, we’d like to give you a chance to get to know our staff on a more personal level. Over the next several months, we will be having members of the Stanton’s team take our “30 Questions in 60 Seconds” questionnaire. We hope you will get to know the “real” us, and learn how we might better be of service to you!
A former band director, Ken taught grade 5-12 band and music appreciation in both public and parochial schools in central Ohio. His iPod ranges from jazz and funk to classic and alternative rock, symphonies, and classic songs from Sesame Street and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. His interests include comic books, traditional amusement parks, the Muppets, football and hockey (especially the Steelers and Penguins), and all things Pittsburgh.
What department do you work in at Stanton’s? – Band & Orchestra
What do you consider your specialties here? – Concert band music and instrumental music education
How long have you been working at Stanton’s? – Since 2004
What is your favorite task at Stanton’s? – Pulling orders
What is your hometown? – Pittsburgh
Where did you go to college? – Otterbein College (now University) – I have Bachelor degrees in Music Education and Applied Music (performance)
What is your major instrument? – Saxophone
Where or with whom do you currently perform/teach? – I play alto saxophone with Swing’s the Thing Big Band. Our recording, Walk on out the Door, is available at gigs and via download from iTunes and Amazon.
What do you like to do in your spare time? – Besides playing with my son, I like reading, watching TV, & keeping up with Pittsburgh sports teams. I love checking out music, too, but don’t get to listen as much as I used to.
What days of the week can you be reached at Stanton’s? – Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday-Saturday
What is the last song/piece you listened to? – The closing theme to Curious George as I left for work this morning
What is the last song/piece you played/sang? – Last played? An arrangement of Blue Suede Shoes. Last sang? Probably Godspeed (Sweet Dreams) by the Dixie Chicks; it’s a bedtime favorite!
If you had a chance to perform with three musicians, living or dead, who would it be? – Mister Rogers, the Count Basie Orchestra, and the Dave Matthews Band. I also feel compelled to share my three favorite sax players: Sonny Rollins, Branford Marsalis, and Jeff Coffin
What is your most memorable musical moment? – Back in 2011 Swing’s the Thing played a concert at the Johnstown (OH) Opera House. Built in 1885 this theater still has the old wooden seats, a really old upright piano, the clam-shells for the stage footlights, etc. Playing there, it looked like Abraham Lincoln could walk in at any second. Anyway, a color guard from the local VFW Post did a presentation of the colors before our performance. At the time, we were doing an arrangement of Runaround Sue that we’d segue with a drum fill into Peppermint Twist. I distinctly remember one of the old veterans from the color guard dancing during these tunes with a lady from the audience. Man, when we hit the key change shout of the final chorus in Peppermint Twist I KNOW we transported him back to his youth. The band was up and wailing and those two were cutting a rug like you’ve never seen! I’ll never forget that sight, and I think of him every time we play that chart.
If you could be instantly proficient on an additional instrument, what would you choose? – steel guitar, drum set, or cello
What is the most unusual performance you have ever been a part of? – A toss-up between posing as the Michigan State pep band in a boxing ring at some event at the Columbus Convention Center my freshman year of college, and a wedding my sax quartet played that was in a park pavilion, had beer AT the ceremony (including a cooler for us), began really late due to the bride and had us musically covering for at least a half-hour, and later involved rumors of pregnancy, drug use, etc.
What musical sound or noise do you love? – Mandolin, cello, jazz guitar, and steel guitar
What musical sound or noise do you hate? – aggressive songs with screaming, unintelligible vocals; songs with overly redundant or annoying samples or sounds; instrumental works that lack focus or have no point to the extent that they lose my attention
If you had your choice watching a great concert tonight or performing in a great concert tonight which would you choose and why? – Attending a great concert because I don’t get to very many live shows right now, and I love the feeling of inspiration I get from watching and hearing top-notch musicians create in the moment.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? – I’d love to be a professional musician (if I had the chops), comic book writer, or college professor. If money was no object, I’d own my own amusement park or record store!
What profession would you not like to do? – Most
On a scale of 1-10, how funny do you think you are? – On a really good day, an 8; when I’m not feeling it, a 0. I basically strive to entertain myself, and if anyone else is amused, it’s a bonus!
Who was your first crush? – I don’t remember
Is there anything you wish would come back into fashion? – I’m a saxophonist so we’re all stuck in the ’70s to some degree
Do you love or hate roller coasters? – Love. I prefer classic woodies thanks to growing up with Kennywood as my home park, and non-looping steel coasters. I am fascinated by coasters of all types as well as amusement rides, and hope to join ACE someday and participate in the Roller Coaster Race!
If you were a super hero, what powers would you have? – Super Intelligence! Think a combination of Batman’s thoroughness, advance planning, and detective skills combined with Cyborg’s direct internet access. I already have the power of Super Organization!
How many pairs of shoes do you own? – 4 (at least 2 of which need replaced), plus a pair of sandals and a pair of flip-flops for water rides/swimming.
Would you rather win the lottery or work at the perfect job? – I’d like to win the lottery, and then work by choice knowing that I didn’t have to.
If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? – Egg sandwiches!! A fried egg with ham or bacon, lettuce, tomato, and a little mayo on an English muffin, with or without cheese!